Open house for new Flood Risk Maps for Kent and Sussex Counties set for April 20 in Milford

DOVER – DNREC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will hold an open house from 5 to 7 p.m., Wednesday April 20 at the Carlisle Fire Company Hall, 615 NW Front St, Milford, DE 19963 to inform the public about new preliminary flood risk maps for parts of Kent and Sussex Counties.

The public is encouraged to attend the open house to learn about proposed Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) changes and how the changes may affect their property. Maps showing portions of Kent and Sussex Counties impacted by these floodplain map changes can be viewed here:

Over the past 10 years, DNREC’s Watershed Stewardship Section has partnered with FEMA to improve the accuracy of flood risk maps statewide through a Cooperating Technical Partnership. New preliminary flood risk maps for portions of Kent and Sussex Counties were released in February. Those maps can also be found at or

“Hydrologic studies that determine water flows, base flood elevations and accurate floodplain boundaries were performed by DNREC on about 200 miles of waterways in western Sussex and southwestern Kent Counties. With these results, base flood elevations for many areas are now shown on FEMA’s maps for the first time, providing property owners with more detailed and accurate flood risk assessments,” said Michael Powell, flood program manager for DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship.

FEMA’s flood risk maps are used by insurance companies to establish insurance rates and by local communities to enforce local floodplain codes. Many communities have recently amended local codes to adopt higher floodplain development standards, in conjunction with the release of the new flood risk maps. Several of these higher standards, such as first floor freeboard (building living space to a margin of safety above predicted flood levels), limiting development in floodplains and flood resistant foundation designs, were recommended by the Floodplain and Drainage Advisory Committee which formed in 2011 through Senate Bill 64 to support more effective floodplain management standards.

“Many of these higher standards – especially at least 18 inches of freeboard and siting new buildings away from high risk floodplains – can result in drastically lower flood insurance premiums due to the lower flood risk for buildings built this way.” Powell added.

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available to local property owners. Mortgage lenders require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated special flood hazard area to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally backed mortgage loan in accordance with the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973.

While standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage incurred by flooding, all property owners can purchase flood insurance. Homeowners interested in how the proposed changes could impact the cost of their flood insurance premium should contact their insurance agent.

For information on the flood risk maps, contact Greg Williams or Michael Powell, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship at (302) 739-9921. For information on the DNREC’s flood mitigation program, visit DNREC’s website at

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol., 46, No. 116

DNREC announces that federal flood insurance is now available in New Castle County’s Village of Arden

Arden Village becomes 49th community in Delaware to participate in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program

DOVER – The Village of Arden in New Castle County has become the latest Delaware community to participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program, with flood insurance now available to property owners in the Village, DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship announced today.

DNREC’s Flood Management Program assisted New Castle County in submitting the Village of Arden’s application to join the national flood insurance program and become the 49th community in the state to participate in the program. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved the village’s application to participate March 11.

With DNREC Flood Management Program guidance for getting NFIP coverage, the Village of Arden adopted floodplain regulations that contain many of the higher standards that were recommended by Senate Bill 64. The community will now require 18 inches of freeboard for all new construction and substantially improved structures.

FEMA’s flood insurance rate maps indicate where the floodplain boundaries are located and the areas of greatest flood risk. Delaware residents can find the maps on DNREC’s website at

Lenders must require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally- backed mortgage loan in accordance with the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973. Property owners not located within an SFHA can voluntarily purchase flood insurance from any agent or broker licensed to do business in Delaware. There is generally a 30-day waiting period before a newly-purchased flood insurance policy goes into effect. DNREC’s Flood Management Program advises that you contact your insurance company for any exceptions to this policy.

Residents of the Village of Arden will be able to purchase flood insurance up to the limits under the regular phase of the program. For single family dwellings, the standard policy building coverage limit is $250,000, and the contents coverage limit is $100,000.

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program boats more than 5.5 million flood insurance policies in more than 22,000 participating communities nationwide.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 86

DNREC flood program manager Michael Powell to speak about flood risks, mitigation and federal flood insurance at U of D’s Delaware Resiliency Summits

DOVER – Michael Powell, Delaware flood program manager, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship, will address flooding issues prevalent throughout the First State next month at the Delaware Resiliency Summits April 6 and 7 – with his presentation focused on how to protect your business, workplace or home against flooding and how to separate flood insurance facts from fiction.

Powell, who has been with DNREC for 25 years, is responsible for managing the state’s flood mapping, community floodplain management assistance, dam safety and beach preservation regulatory programs. He holds a Master of Marine Policy degree from the University of Delaware and is active in the Association of State Floodplain Managers. In billing his upcoming presentation, the University of Delaware’s Small Business Development Center, which sponsors the free summits, noted that “Delaware enjoys a multi-billion dollar economy largely due to its standing as a coastal state with beautiful beaches, bays and waterways. But water, more specifically too much of it, can be devastating to businesses, nonprofit organizations and homeowners.”

Powell’s presentation will focus on:

  • Preparation for and recovering from floods;
  • How to assess your flood risk;
  • Flood insurance – separating fact from fiction;
  • Disaster relief – what exactly it is; and
  • Practical steps for being resilient to future flooding risks.

This year’s Resiliency Summits will take place in New Castle and Sussex counties:

The purpose of the Delaware Resiliency Summits is to prepare businesses, nonprofits, state agencies, academia and residents with business continuity and resiliency information to help them with protection against weather events such as flooding, cyber-crimes and insurance risks. Tabletop exercises will promote two-way communication and learning, and attendees will receive a free disaster protection and recovery planning workbook. For more information regarding either summit, please call Delaware’s Small Business Development Center at 302-856-1555. For more information on flooding in Delaware, please visit the DNREC website.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 74

DNREC issues Secretary’s Order and penalty notice to Oakwood Village at Lewes LLC for sediment and stormwater violations

DOVER – DNREC Secretary David Small has issued a Notice of Administrative Penalty Assessment and Secretary’s Order to Oakwood Village at Lewes LLC (Oakwood Village) for violations of Delaware’s sediment and stormwater regulations, and Regulations Governing the Control of Water Pollution. The order includes an administrative penalty of $36,900 and an additional $5,535 in cost recovery reimbursement to DNREC.

Oakwood Village is a multi-phase subdivision in Sussex County comprising almost 64 acres with 115 single family units. The subdivision is being built in phases and is in the process of completing the final phase. Unless exempted under state law and Delaware’s sediment and stormwater Regulations, any entity disturbing land greater than 5,000 square feet (one-eighth acre) must comply with its approved sediment and stormwater management plan from DNREC or its delegated agencies.

The Sussex Conservation District referred Oakwood Village to DNREC for enforcement action in July 2014. Subsequent construction site reviews at Oakwood Village found six violations between July and October of 2014. The violations cited by DNREC were: deficiencies of the stabilized construction entrance, inlet protection, vegetative stabilization, silt fence, and maintenance.

The Secretary’s Order can be found on DNREC’s website at

Oakwood Village has 30 days to request a public hearing.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 63

DNREC seeking volunteers for Saturday, March 19 beach grass planting along Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean coastlines

Beach grass will help stabilize dunes hit hard by recent coastal storm; register by March 11

DOVER – DNREC is seeking volunteers for Delaware’s annual beach grass planting event set for 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, March 19 at beach locations along the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. The event, now in its 27th year, helps protect Delaware shorelines by planting Cape American beach grass on sand dunes damaged by coastal storms.

Last year approximately 1,000 environmental enthusiasts, families and students planted 110,000 stems of beach grass along over 3 miles of coastline between Kitts Hummock Beach and Fenwick Island.

According to Jennifer Luoma, environmental scientist with DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section and coordinator of the event, volunteers are especially needed this year. “Delaware’s coastline was ravaged by the January storm that weakened, and in some areas destroyed dunes and eroded sand from our beaches. The dunes were hit especially hard, and hundreds of volunteers are needed to help stabilize dunes that have been repaired after the coastal storm.”

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up by March 11, 2016 either online at or by email to For more information, call 302-739-9921.

Sand dunes are essential for protection against damaging coastal storms. When sand dunes are destroyed, storm waves can rush inland, flood properties and put lives at risk. Stabilized dunes absorb wave energy and act as major sand storage areas, which replenish sand to eroded beaches during a storm.

Beach grass helps to build and stabilize dunes by trapping windblown sand. As the grass traps the sand, it builds the dunes higher and wider, which makes dunes more protective of the structures behind them. Since the program was introduced in 1989, more than 5 million stems of beach grass have been planted by dedicated volunteers.

DNREC’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section coordinates the annual beach grass planting event. The section also implements beach replenishment and erosion control projects along Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay communities to enhance, preserve and protect private and public beaches.

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 54